I've noticed in this country that while we love to bask in the sunshine and enjoy a bit of hot weather we do prefer it in small doses with a bit of something unpleasant in between to complain about. So by mid afternoon yesterday, and after a week of perfect weather, the heat and humidity was such that We'd Had Enough. Something had to give. Within the space of 15 minutes the weather caved in and we ran for cover. There followed an electric storm of biblical proportions and a deluge of rain. Not suprisingly we lost the electricity. (My computer and router switched off with an alarming 'POP!' leading me to fear the worst - fortunately all appears to be well.)
The lanes turned into streams as water poured off the hills, plants were flattened in the garden. The air had a curious metallic tang as the storm passed through.
And pass through it did, a couple of hours later the air was dry and cool and the earth saturated. It will have done the garden no end of good. The power took some time to be restored and it was still off in Marton when I went down to the Village Hall to the WI's 'Any Questions?' evening.
This was something of an ambitious project for such a small and ageing WI but somehow it had got put onto the calender and wouldn't go away. With the words 'never volunteer...' ringing in my ears I offered to help organise it. As we're fairly new to the area the number of people I could personally cajole into buying a ticket was somewhat limited. I found myself concentrating on the marketing and publicity side - familiar ground - and delegating other jobs. I was however able to persuade the Young Farmers to come along and ask some questions and they were a very welcome addtion to the audience. One of our panel was Wayne Davies, the Chairman of Shropshire YFC who was a brilliant speaker speaking on behalf of both young people and the agricultural industry. He was well received by everyone in the Hall. The other 3 members of the panel, Peter Phillips a Lib Dem Councillor: Shirley Tart, a journalist; and Rosemary Hamilton from the Shropshire Federation of Women's Institutes represented other local interests. Our hall was full, the questions - and responses - thought provoking and the supper afterwards typically generous.
The concensus of opinion was that the evening had gone well - I hope we don't have to do another in the near future though!
Back home through the dark lanes, everything washed clean and fresh. The moon hazy behind a film of cloud, the faint 'baa' of a sheep in the distance and the woosh of the breeze in the wood beyond. Magic.